Emotions are bubbling over following November's election, and Mountain View's Human Relations Commission last week dipped its toes into the torrent. They brainstormed on how to arrange a community talk without sparking a shouting match.
Most commissioners described the election of Donald Trump as enabling bigoted behavior, such as rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants. Commissioners Alia Malik and Shannon Casey described how their school-age children broke down in tears following news of Trump's election. The community concern was "very, very real," Malik said, urging her colleagues to address the issue head-on.
The group mulled various ideas, such as sending a letter to the president-elect, creating a hotline for reporting hate incidents and building outreach to local schools.
But were these ideas just adding to the political echo chamber of the Bay Area? Commissioner Jim Neal said he felt his political beliefs represented the real point of view that was being quashed.
"If I put a sign for Donald Trump in my front yard, I'd get a brick through my window," he said. "In talking about my politics, people have been very intolerant and not willing to listen."
After much discussion, the commission agreed on a basic format for a community forum sometime in early 2017. This event, they agreed would provide information and "reaffirm a citywide commitment to diversity, inclusivity, engagement and civility."
Exact details and a panel of speakers for the event are still being figured out.